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Transcript: All In with Chris Hayes, 6/29/21

Guests: Jeff Sharlet, Joe Neguse, Kate Bedingfield, Yasmeen Abutaleb, Damian Paletta


Republicans are trading dignity for a spot in the party of Donald Trump. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi introduces the framework for the January 6 Select Committee. President Biden was out today in La Crosse, Wisconsin making the case of climate proposals included in the new bipartisan plan will help address the extreme weather. A new reporting in a book by two "Washington Post" reporters suggests Trump`s bout with COVID in October was far more severe and more dangerous than the White House or his doctors disclosed.


JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: The poll also showed that voters have turned off by candidates who support the audit, which gets us to tonight`s absolute worst. I`m looking at you Arizona Republican senators, for foisting Trump`s fever dream on the citizens of your state and basically charging them $6 million for no good reason. Bang up job, ladies and gents. You`re the absolute worst.

That`s tonight`s REIDOUT. "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts now.


CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voice over): Tonight on ALL IN.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): I would just say to my Republican colleagues, can we move forward without President Trump? The answer is no.

HAYES: A party held hostage by a twice-impeached, one-term ex-president. Republicans embrace the worst of the worst to try to get back in power. Then --

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Anybody ever believed he turned on the news and says 116 degrees in Portland, Oregon? 116 degrees.

HAYES: Amid the devastating effects of climate change, why is the White House compromising on climate and infrastructure? Plus --

REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES (D-NY): Kevin McCarthy refused to take yes for an answer. And now, he`s got a select committee.

HAYES: New questions about exactly who might be on the committee to investigate January 6.

And new details on the exclusive medical treatment that Trump got for COVID while thousands of Americans died without it. When ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES (on camera): Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. It has now been 67 days, more than two months, since the start of the Arizona ballot audit. The ridiculous, by all accounts, incompetent, conspiratorial lunacy that was ordered by the Republican-led state senate, actual representative members of that body, right?

After more than two months, we still have no information about what if anything the audit has actually found. The auditors have reportedly sent their data to a secret lab in Montana that may just be a remote cabin in the northwest part of the state, kind of unclear. But they have succeeded in essentially wrecking the election infrastructure of the largest county in the state, Maricopa County. The county had to announce that they will not reuse most of their voting equipment because of concerns that the audit itself may have compromised. The most populous county in Arizona will obtain new machines for the next elections likely at a cost of millions of dollars.

The Arizona audit was supposed to be the model for the rest of the country. And the Republican Party in Arizona has mostly gone along with it except for a couple of objections from Maricopa County officials who understandably felt insulted by the whole thing. But the entire enterprise has been cringe-inducing and horrible from the hiring of totally obviously unqualified contractors to the hunt for bamboo fiber in the paper ballots and attempt to prove a conspiracy theory that they were smuggled in from China, to using UV lights to search for non-existent watermarks on the ballots.

The whole audit has been so pathetic, frankly, it`s made it hard for Republicans other states who want to follow their lead. But of course, that has not stopped Donald Trump from obsessing over it, pinning his hopes on the idea that a series of audits could prove he actually won the election and return him to the White House. And as he waits for more audits to pop up and the election to be overturned, he is essentially threatening to hold the next elections hostage unless Republicans fall in line.

He said as much as his first post-presidential rally over the weekend in Ohio, warning "You have to know what took place in 2020 before you can vote in 2022 or 2024. I think that was a second rally after. And so, some of his more slavishly devoted toadies in Wisconsin have been taking steps to challenge the election results, please their former president, this is what he`s ordered. In February, Republicans in that state did order an audit of the election results by a non-partisan group. State Republicans visit the Arizona audit to observe the process. The State Assembly Speaker hired a retired police officer and a lawyer to investigate the 2020 results.

But they haven`t quite been able to pull off a full Arizona-style debacle in which they, you know, take possession of all these ballots and give them to some random entity. And for that, well, Donald Trump is not happy. On Friday, he issued this statement accusing Wisconsin Republican leaders of working hard to cover up election corruption and actively trying to prevent a forensic audit. All this is expected nonsense. He also warned if they do not launch an audit, "I have little doubt that they will be primaried and quickly run out of office.

OK, this is what you`ve come to expect for the last five years. But, but, but, but the response from one of the Wisconsin Republican officials Trump called out by name, the president of the State Senate Chris Kapenga is an incredible example of Trump-era Republicans and generally democratic decline, not to mention absurd levels of humiliation.

OK, Chris Kapenga, this guy, just got chewed out by probably the most famous sociopath in the country, maybe the world. A guy who had a 29 percent approval rating upon leaving office, according to a Pew poll, lost the popular vote twice, got impeached twice, managed to lose both the House and the Senate for Republicans, and would be cast aside by any other party looking for a future leader.

And yet, yeah, here`s Chris Kapenga, the target of this man`s ire. This is Chris Kapenga`s response. And you need to hear this. I`m going to read it, the large portions of it because nothing else would do it justice. Kapenga, "Let me first say that very few people have the honor of being named publicly by a United States President. I never imagined mine would be mentioned must let -- much less in this light from a President that I`ve publicly supported and still support. I feel I need to respond even though you will likely never hear of it as the power of your pen to mine is like Thor`s hammer to a bobby pin. I write this as I am about to board a plane due to a family medical emergency. In addition to my Trump socks, I will pull up my Trump/Pence mask when I board the plane as required by federal law. I figured if the liberals are going to force me to wear a mask, I`m going to make it as painful for them as possible. I will continue to do this regardless of whether or not I ever hear from you. Thank you for doing great things as our President."

Now in there, admits that, there is him taking issue with some of the things that were said about him. He also asked for a free round of golf with President, unclear if that`s done in cheek. But the general tone, the level of Stalinist groveling that is required by the Republican Party right now is on display. And at this point, it`s not even a question of whether they`re doing it for political purposes or if they actually believe what they`re saying. Because this behavior, the cultivating the most noxious fringe ideas, bringing them to the center of American life is the modus operandi of the party increasingly.

Look at fellow Wisconsin Republican U.S. Senator Ron Johnson, who let`s remember represents essentially a 50-50 state. It`s one of the closest states in the union. It certainly was in the presidential election. And yet Ron Johnson conducts himself like a guy auditioning for a show on right- wing cable channels like Newsmax or OAN.

Yesterday, he and he hosted a press conference in Milwaukie with a group of people who said they had adverse reactions to Coronavirus vaccines. Johnson claiming he was of course just asking questions.


SEN. RON JOHNSON (R-WI): Just because the vaccine is generally safe, doesn`t mean that it`s 100 percent safe. People that are trying to tell the truth, people that are trying to get answers are having a hard time getting their truths communicated without being vilified, without being ridiculed, without being censored.


HAYES: OK, I mean, reticule and sensor is not really the issue here. I mean, you say whatever you want. I`m sure some people have had adverse effects. But he`s doing this as we are seeing more evidence day after day after day in real time, not clinical trials, right, in the world, showing both how incredibly safe and effective the vaccines are and crucially how vitally important vaccination is to keep people alive and keep the virus suppressed as the much more transmissible Delta variant wreaks havoc across the world, especially in places where fewer people are vaccinated.

There are pockets like these in Ron Johnson`s own state where cases per capita are higher and vaccination rate is relatively low, like the area around the city of Oshkosh. Senator Johnson keeps just asking questions about vaccine safety with the trollish sort of smirk that has become the rhetorical pose of this increasingly nihilistic faction of the Republican Party, because nothing is just considered out of bounds for them.

I mean, Donald Trump put Georgia Congresswoman and QAnon conspiracy promoter, Margaret Taylor Greene, at the stage at his rally this weekend. Of course, the rally was not in her state, it was in Ohio, but he had her there because she`s the kind of person he likes. Then she may not even be the most defensive number Congress serving right now. Arizona Congressman Paul Gosar is giving her run for her money. He`s the guy whose own siblings think he should be removed from office, the guy who told supporters ahead of January 6 to be ready to defend the constitution and the White House. Also, the guy who appeared at a conference hosted by a white nationalist named Nick Fuentes, and is now planning to hold a fundraiser with the same man.

Nick Fuentes has defended segregation, bemoan the United States losing its "white demographic core" cast doubts on the millions of deaths in the Holocaust engaged in a lengthy metaphor likening the deaths to cookies baking it in an oven. It labeled a January 6 riot the U.S. Capitol awesome, the racist rally in Charlottesville that resulted in the death of a counter-protester, incredible. I could play you the tape of him doing a whole smirking riff about the Holocaust and how many cookies Cookie Monster can bake in an oven at a time, but I`ll spare you.

That is what we`re dealing with the Republican Party. And the John Roberts and the Mitch McConnells and the Bill Barrs, and Mike Pences, the so-called establishment can do all the distancing and reputation laundering they want, but this is the faction that controls the party right now.

Claire McCaskill is a former Democratic senator from Missouri. Jeff Sharlet is a contributing editor of Vanity Fair, where he wrote about the dark warning of Donald Trump`s first post-presidential rally on Saturday. And they both join me now.

Claire, here`s the thing that I keep coming back to when I think about -- I`m not surprised anymore by any of this. But I do tend to think of politicians generally, the ones that I`ve dealt with in my life as a reporter, they tend to have a fair amount of ego. It`s like a thing you attended have when you -- when you go into politics. And just the abject self-debasement that is on display from politicians who I think have the kind of people who don`t normally go in for that kind of thing continues to astound me. That Kapenga letter astounds me. I just -- I don`t -- I didn`t know all these people had it in them.

CLAIRE MCCASKILL, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, the Kapenga letter is something else. It is a Stockholm Syndrome letter where someone has been captured and put in an alternate state of reality. But the Gosar stuff, Chris, is really unbelievable. If somebody would have told me when I came to the United States Senate in 2007 that in a mere short 13 years, the Republican Party`s Big Tent would be catering to Holocaust deniers, Nazi sympathizers, and white supremacists, I would say, you know, that`s just that`s not a realistic plot for a movie. That is not going to happen.

There are too many Republicans that would stand up for what is right and good in this country. The fact that they`re not, the fact that this guy is proud of doing a fundraiser, a sitting Congressman, is proud of doing a fundraiser with a Nazi sympathizer shows you how far they -- how far they have fallen. And I don`t think they`re going to come back until they suffer even bigger defeats down the road.

HAYES: I mean, I agree with that. The question is whether those are in the offing. And, Jeff, when you think about the tenor of this movement at this moment, it`s a movement now out of power, as opposed to in power, although it was always so driven by a sense of grievance, persecution, and victimhood. I`m not sure how much difference it makes. But it does seem like it`s gotten darker still.

JEFF SHARLET, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, VANITY FAIR: It really has. You know, I`ve been traveling across the country, recently talking to Trump supporters all over, and so many people are talking now about civil war. It`s almost as if the spectrum ranges whether they think it`s coming or if they think it`s January 6 was the first battle. And I think Trump sort of spoke to that feeling and his Ohio rally on Saturday in which he sort of -- he returned all his regular -- his regular, rich, but darker, more violent, it`s a long riff on -- I mean, to grotesque, hacking people to death and so on, that he claims that undocumented people are doing -- and he`s trying to scare people, and it`s working, and they`re cheering for it. They`re enjoying the fear.

HAYES: And then the question then becomes the -- you know, about do -- does the logic of basically, you know, competitive campaigns keep this restrained? And that`s the question, Claire. I mean, I`ve -- we play this Ronnie Jackson clip all the time where he says, you know, he`s a congressman down in Texas who, of course, was the Presidents a doctor who says, look, we`re going to -- redistricting is going to give us the House anyway. Like, we`re going to -- we`re going to get the House even from redistricting, which to me is a really important insight for how untethered they all appear to be from just the normal calculations you might make if you`re Ron Johnson or others in states that are competitive.

MCCASKILL: Well, they`re going to go too far. And there will be ramifications. I mean, I hate to point this out, because I know a lot of your listeners are happy being mad at Kyrsten Sinema. But interesting polling out of Arizona, since we`re talking about elections and politics, first, this recount in Arizona is not popular. That means the majority of the electorate gets that this is a silly partisan exercise. But second, Kyrsten Sinema is more popular in Arizona than Joe Biden right now.

And that should tell you that there is a middle still in America. And that middle is going to reject this darkness and this white supremacy and these Nazi sympathizers. They`re going to reject it. So, they may win primaries in in red places these far radical right nuts. They may win those primaries. But in states like Wisconsin, they`re not going to win general elections. In states like Arizona, they`re not going to win general elections. So, we`ll see what redistricting does to the House. But I actually am pretty optimistic about the Senate right now.

HAYES: Jeff, what do you think about that idea? I mean, I think I`m agnostic at this point. I tend towards pretty pessimistic about the sort of mechanisms of Democratic feedback here. But it is true. I mean, it is true in a grand sense that things like Arizona recount or, you know, comparing the Holocaust to Cookie Monster baking cookies are, you know, make people blanched and recoil and disgust. It`s not the kind of thing you would -- you would advise a political party to pursue and yet --

SHARLET: And yet, a majority of the Republican Party now signs off on at least some of the conspiracy theories of QAnon. And so, it`s true while it`s going to make some people blanche, and I really hope Claire is right, and in some ways share that optimism. What`s happening right now is that -- is that purification of an authoritarian movement. It`s -- I was about to say it`s going all in. I didn`t mean it as a pun. But they really are going further. There`s nothing holding them back anymore.

And I think what Trump is saying, he`s -- Claire said, you know, that it`s like Stockholm Syndrome. He`s holding his base hostage. And Ohio, he said, there`s no voting in 22 or 24 without settling 20. Now, on the one hand, Democrats can say that`s great news. You just stay home. That`s fine, right, no voting. But it also means the party is going to fall away.

HAYES: Yes. That -- I thought that was really the equivalent of kind of waving around a loaded weapon threat there because we already saw it play out on January 5 in Georgia while he pursued the like, conspiracy theories, which seemed to appreciably hurt Republican chances there and him saying, well, this is going to happen again. Claire McCaskill, Jeff Sharlet, thank you both.


SHARLET: Thank you, Chris.

HAYES: As the Pacific Northwest battles a climate crisis, why is President Biden compromising on climate in the bipartisan infrastructure deal? White House Communications Director Kate Bedingfield joins me ahead.


HAYES: How Speaker Nancy Pelosi has introduced legislation or resolution, I should say, to appoint a special committee to look into the January 6 insurrection. As the vote is scheduled for tomorrow, if it goes ahead which we expect, the committee will have 13 members, eight appointed by Pelosi and five appointed after consultation with Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy.

Though a Pelosi aide said she is not -- she is considering a Republican among her appointments that would make the partisan split seven to six. But it`s unclear right now is which republicans will serve on the Select Committee. Politico reports that already some of the Republican Party`s biggest firebrands, their word, I would choose another one, are asking McCarthy to join the panel, with Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia publicly pushing to be seated on the panel.

Of course, Marjorie Taylor Greene has publicly defended the insurrectionists and said the FBI was behind the attack. Some others who have shown interest include congressman Matt Gaetz of Florida, Congresswoman Lauren Boebert of Colorado. These are, I think, the usual suspects. It should be noted that all three of those members sided with the insurrectionists and voted to overturn the election results on January 6, blocking the electors of the rightfully elected president.

Today, Speaker Pelosi would not say if Republicans who voted to overturn the election would be allowed on the committee, but she did make clear that she has the power to veto Kevin McCarthy`s picks. Congressman Joe Neguse, a Democrat from Colorado, served as an impeachment manager to prosecute former President Trump for inciting an insurrection at the Capitol. And he joins me now.

What is your understanding, Congressman, of the structure of this committee and when the appointments might come together?

REP. JOE NEGUSE (D-CO): Well, good to see you again, Chris. The select committee is structured very similar to previous select committees that have been approved by the Congress. As you mentioned that the bipartisan structure will have Republican and Democratic representation. I don`t know when the Speaker will announce her final appointments to the select committee. I suspect that`ll happen in short order. But again, that`s -- that remains to be seen. I have no doubt that she will appoint talented, serious, thoughtful lawmakers who are committed ultimately to ascertaining the truth and getting to the bottom of what happened on January 6 so that we can ensure that what happened that terrible day never happens again.

HAYES: Republican Congressman Andy Bigg who`s from Arizona and has been, I think, along with Gosar, and other, Boebert and the likes have been sort of -- sort of the most strenuous in their objections to the electors being seated. He said that if you`re going to do it, meaning the select committee, I can`t think of anybody better than somebody like Marjorie Taylor Greene. She doesn`t have a committee. True. She could put a lot of time and effort into it, which is a sort of weird backwards way to reason your way into it.

But it does strike me that the kind of veto power by the Speaker here is important given who some of your colleagues are.

NEGUSE: Yes, I`d say a couple of things. First, he fails to mention that she doesn`t have any committees because she was removed from her committees by the House for her -- for her conduct. But in any event, obviously, to the extent that the Minority Leader makes irrational and, frankly, dangerous appointments along the lines of what you`ve described, in terms of those members who have apparently indicated on the Republican side that they`d like to participate, again, I can`t speak for the Speaker, but I suspect that they are unlikely -- that those recommendations are unlikely to be accepted.

But you know, again, under the plain language of the resolution, the Speaker retains the authority to make the final appointments of all 13 individuals. And I do think that`s incredibly important. One would hope that the minority leader would take this seriously and appoint serious lawmakers. But obviously, given his conduct thus far, and the fact that he has been so obstinate and opposed a bipartisan, independent commission, notwithstanding all of our concessions to him and to the Republican caucus more broadly in terms of that legislation, I don`t have high hopes that he`s going to take this particular endeavor serious.

But nonetheless, we certainly will. And I think he will see that bear out during the course of the Select committee`s deliberations and investigation.

HAYES: Yes, you mentioned Kevin McCarthy. His role in this is so vexed in some ways and fraught because he`s a principal. I mean, one of the most remarkable pieces of evidence in that impeachment trial was what he was telling lawmakers about a phone call he had with the president in this moment of peril.

Liz Cheney who of course was kicked out of leadership of the Republican Party for refusing to basically say that Donald Trump won the election, she had this to say when asked if she thought that McCarthy himself should be subpoenaed as part of any kind of inquiry. Take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Should Kevin McCarthy be willing to speak -- testify before that commission? After all, he is one of the few people that we know of that was actually talking to Donald Trump while the attack was taking place.

REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): He absolutely should. And I wouldn`t be surprised if he were subpoenaed. I think that he very clearly and said publicly that he`s got information about the President`s state of mind that day. I would hope he doesn`t require a subpoena. But I wouldn`t be surprised if he -- if he were subpoenaed.


HAYES: It does seem to me, Congressman necessary that a lot of your colleagues are our subjects in some ways or have crucial information for this inquiry. It`s not about some thing that happened out there.

NEGUSE: I agree, Chris. I mean, I agree with Liz Cheney. Clearly, Minority Leader McCarthy has probative evidence to share with the committee. And I would anticipate that he would be called before the committee and that may extend to others as well. As you said, there are multiple threads of inquiry that really remain, you know, some of which was the subject of the impeachment trial several months ago, in terms of conversations that the President had with various individuals, both at the Department of Defense and obviously, here on Capitol Hill as well.

And I think it`s important for this committee to ultimately do a comprehensive investigation into what led to January 6 and make recommendations to the Congress so that we can prevent this kind of terrible event from happening in the future.

HAYES: Final quick, yes or no. Do you want to be on it?

NEGUSE: That`s not something that I`ve thought of, Chris. I am, you know, very, very committed to my current committee assignments, so -- and I as I said, I have no doubt --

HAYES: It`s true. You do have committee assignments, I should note.

NEGUSE: She will undoubtedly appoint very talented people on the committee.

HAYES: Congressman Joe Neguse who`s not just wandering the halls of Capitol Hill without a committee, he`s working for a living, thanks so much for making time tonight.

NEGUSE: Thank you, Chris. All right, don`t go anywhere. White House Communications Director Kate Bedingfield is here. There`s a lot I want to get to. She joins me next.


HAYES: The heat dome that parked over the Pacific Northwest this weekend was so intense the roads were buckling under the extreme temperatures. Even the streetcar service in Portland, Oregon was forced to shut down because some of the cables for that streetcar melted.

To put it in context, the high in Portland yesterday which happened actually right we were on air, a little after, was 116 degrees. That`s 10 degrees hotter than Las Vegas. And the heatwave is not an anomaly because the climate crisis is here. This is what now feels like, will feel like. It`s wreaking havoc on our infrastructure.

And of course, we need to prepare for the fact that we will only see more of these events, which is why some Democrats are pushing back hard against the bipartisan deal that Joe Biden has signed off on, the President, the infrastructure deal that largely leaves out the huge portfolio of bold action to address climate change that was in the original proposal from the White House.

In turn, President Biden was out today in La Crosse, Wisconsin making the case of climate proposals included in the new bipartisan plan will help address the extreme weather we`ve seen from the heatwave of the Pacific Northwest to the Deep Freeze of Texas just a few months ago.


BIDEN: You saw what happened in Texas. This winter, the entire system in the state collapsed, the entire system. So, we have to act. This deal and modernize the power grid more energy-efficient and resilient to -- and resistant to extreme weather. And it`s going to strengthen and revitalize our natural infrastructure like our coastlines and levees, are preparing our physical infrastructure for wildfires, floods, and other extreme weather.


HAYES: Here with an inside view of the president strategy is White House Communications Director Kate Bedingfield. It`s so great to have you on the program. I guess my first question is this.


HAYES: It felt -- it felt today like President Biden was making the case and the White House is making the case that whatever was initially proposed the American jobs plan which had, you know, very large climate component, that this bipartisan deal itself also has climate stuff. And people should be happy with that and not worry about the fact that 80 to 90 percent of the climate stuff in the first deal was left out. Is that fair of what you`re trying to -- what you`re trying to say?

BEDINGFIELD: Actually, no, I don`t think that`s fair at all, Chris. I think what the President was doing today was talking about the historic, important investments in this bipartisan deal that he was able to strike with Republicans and Democrats, which is going to do really important things to move the ball forward on climate change.

I mean, you heard the President talking about it just there. It`s going to invest in our grid, which is critical. It`s going to modernize the grid which is critical to meeting President Biden`s goal of a carbon-free power sector by 2035. It invests in 100 percent replacement of lead pipes across the country to ensure that communities are drinking clean water. It includes billions of dollars in resilience, so making sure that roads and bridges and dams are resilient when it comes to climate change and are better able to handle climate change. It includes investment in electric vehicle infrastructure across this country so that people are able to charge electric cars and help facilitate our movement to electric cars.

So, there are really important pieces of this, this deal that are going to make great progress on our climate goals. But also remember, this isn`t the entirety of President Biden`s agenda. This is -- he believes and is going to continue to fight for --

HAYES: Well, that`s --

BEDINGFIELD: -- other key priorities.

HAYES: OK, but that part -- I mean, I don`t disagree that those -- with those investments. But if you say like electric vehicles, right, perfect example. So, there`s money for investing in electric vehicle infrastructure in the bipartisan bill. I think it`s $7.4 billion if I`m not mistaken that`s in that bill. I mean, what are we talking about here, $7.4 billion? That is -- I mean, yes, that`s better than zero. It`s a lot of money in normal person terms. But, you know, it was $174 billion in the American Jobs Plan that the President himself proposed.

It`s -- you know, it doesn`t even count as a rounding error for like what we have to do. It`s just totally insufficient in scale to the -- to the project before us. And that`s true when you go down the line of a lot of stuff that was in that original American Jobs Plan and compare it to the top line in the -- in the bipartisan compromise.

BEDINGFIELD: But it`s a really important first step, Chris. And how do we ever make progress if we don`t take the first step? These are important historic investments. And being able to actually get this bill passed and signed into law means that money is actually going to go toward elect -- encouraging people to drive electric vehicles and making it easier for them to drive electric vehicles. So, this is the first step.

HAYES: Right. But I guess --

BEDINGFIELD: It`s not the totality of --

HAYES: Sure.

BEDINGFIELD: But it`s not the -- well, wait, wait, wait. It`s not the totality of President Biden`s agenda. He`s going to continue to fight for the key pieces that he put forward in his -- in his broader climate plan. And of course, he`s going to fight for pieces of his American families plan that are incredibly important, like the child tax credit, and universal pre-K.

I mean, these are all part of the Biden agenda. And he`s going to continue to push for all of it. Being able to get this deal done and hopefully get this bill signed into law is an important first step. And I would reject any suggestion that this deal is not going to be a historic investment to create jobs, to make our infrastructure more resilient, and yes, to make important steps toward addressing climate change.

HAYES: But the question here is that -- and this is where, you know, I think there`s that back and forth about him saying, look, I`m only going to sign both bills, and that it seemed like a walk back of that. I mean, the thing that everyone`s asking right now, when you look at, say, the initial proposal of like a federal renewable standard, right, the single most important piece of piece of climate policy we can imagine -- we could have, right, if we`re going to hit the Paris targets, that`s not in the bipartisan bill.

Now, if you tell me, well, we`re going to pass a bipartisan bill, and then we`re going to also get a federal renewable portfolio standard. Like, great, awesome. That`s great. But if you tell me we`re going to pass a bipartisan bill, and then there`s not going to be the votes for the federal renewable portfolio standard, then passing the bipartisan bill itself is bad because it takes away the possibility of that important thing. If you`re choosing between them, that`s not good.

BEDINGFIELD: President Biden has been very clear that he`s going to continue to fight for his priorities. He has said, of course, he is -- he stands behind this deal that he was able to strike, which by the way, is a very -- is a popular deal. These are investments that the American people want to see us make. They have bipartisan support. They have governors from both sides of the aisle coming out and embracing this deal.

These are important investments. He`s going to fight for them. It doesn`t mean that he`s not going to fight for the rest of his agenda. He has said as much many times. He laid out on the campaign, as you know, you covered it, Chris. He laid out progressive, aggressive plans to create jobs, to strengthen -- support for families via things like the child tax credit, and to tackle climate change. He ran and won, got 81 million votes on one of the biggest, boldest climate plans that anybody who`s ever run for President has put forward. And he`s going to continue to advance those priorities. That`s what you`ve heard him say throughout this process.


BEDINGFIELD: But being able to get to a bipartisan deal that takes important steps that creates jobs, and by the way, that advances his equity fight. You know, he puts racial equity at the heart of everything that he does. And this is a deal that is going to have an impact on public transit that disproportionately helps communities of color. It`s going to have an impact on advancing environmental justice, on resilience, and remediation. These are all things that are about making life better for communities of color.

So, there is -- there are important pieces of this deal. And I think selling it short as it feels like maybe you`re trying to do is missing some of the really important pieces that are going to make a difference in people`s lives.

HAYES: Oh, I mean, I`m just a cable news host. It`s the -- it`s the planet and how much carbon it can take in the atmosphere and the fact that we have hard targets we have to hit. Like, plans and priorities are great. I don`t -- there`s very little -- you know, there`s lots of good stuff in this deal. It`s just like, if we don`t have the targets, we don`t have the targets, and you know, we have been not hitting the targets for 30 years, so I hope that turns around. But we`ll come back and we`ll talk about those again, hopefully. You`re welcome to come back anytime.

White House Communications Director Kate Bedingfield, thank you for joining us tonight.

BEDINGFIELD: Thank you for having me.

HAYES: All right. Ahead, it was worse than they said it was. Stunning revelations about the extraordinary lengths taken by the White House to save Donald Trump from COVID-19. That story coming up.


HAYES: One of the common tropes and well, to be honest, common realities of dictatorial regimes is that the authoritarian leader lives in obscene comfort with access to the best of everything from health care to lifestyle while the people of the country live in misery, often going hungry or ill.

And while, let`s be honest, this contradiction at some level exists in every society, democracies, no matter how egalitarian, these stories, these high definition stories of dictators feasting while their people starve or traveling for world class health care while plagues ravaged their populace, they serve to point out, you know, the specific kind of corruption of leaders that are unaccountable to their people, which brings us to our own former president. Now, he handle his own brush with the plague that has killed over 600,000 Americans.

A new reporting in a book by two Washington Post reporters suggests Trump`s bout with COVID in October was far more severe and more dangerous than the White House or his doctors led on. "Trump`s brush with severe illness, the prospect of death caught the White House so unprepared, they had not even briefed Vice President Mike Pence`s team on a plan to swear him in if Trump became incapacitated.

You`ll remember that Trump that`s been months downplaying COVID, hawking miracle cures from malaria drug to injecting disinfectant. He had recklessly defied public health guidance, held massive, crowded indoor events like oh, this rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Former Presidential Candidate Herman Cain attended that one before contracting COVID and dying.

Trump`s Secret Service agents kept getting COVID. As of November, as many as 130 contracted it according to The Washington Post. "Many of Trump`s own choices put his protection team in heightened risk specifically his choice to travel out of state and hold large public events." Trump urged seniors who are most at risk of dying from COVID to act like warriors on a battlefield and to rush out into open fire to sacrifice themselves for the cause of a strong economy and more importantly, a Trump reelection.

And his propaganda had an effect. It helped spread the virus. Over time, outbreaks increasingly correlated with support for the President, as low vaccination rates do now. One study found his campaign rallies alone accounted for at least 300,000 cases and at least 700 deaths, just his campaign rallies. And then, after a super spreader event at the White House with then Supreme Court Justice Nominee Amy Coney Barrett, a whole bunch of people, including Trump got COVID. Remember that?

Well, we now know that his aides frantically pressured the government to OK a special experimental treatment for Trump, a monoclonal antibody that was not available to the general public. "Regeneron`s chief executive said Mr. Trump`s medical staff reached out to the company for permission to use the drug and that it was cleared with the Food and Drug Administration. All we can say is that they asked to be able to use it and we were happy to oblige, he said. When it`s the President of the United States, of course, that gets -- obviously, it gets our attention.

Not only did Trump get this treatment, Chris Christie and Rudy Giuliani and Ben Carson, all of whom got COVID, all got this treatment. And they had to get a special dispensation from the FDA to get the treatment for Trump. And when Trump did get better, he chalked it up to this treatment to the monoclonal antibodies, which he touted as a miracle cure, promised they would immediately be made available to all Americans.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have medicines right now, and I call him a cure. We`re taking care of our seniors. You`re not vulnerable, but they like to say the vulnerable, but you`re the least vulnerable. But for this one thing, you are vulnerable and so am I. But I want you to get the same care that I got. You`re going to get the same medicine. You`re going to get it free, no charge. And we`re going to get it to you soon. And the nice part is it`s made by a number of companies. It`s totally safe. But it`s powerful against this disease. So, we`re going to get it out to you. We`re going to take care of our seniors, all free.


HAYES: We`re going to get it out to you. We`re going to take care of you. Everyone is fair, fine, as on October 8th when there were 928 COVID deaths that day alone. And from that date until February 2021, nearly 230,000 Americans died. And subsequent studies have shown that yes, indeed, unlike the malaria drug or injecting bleach, monoclonal antibody treatments have been quite effective in reducing severe illness and death in COVID patients if administered at the onset of illness as it was with Trump.

According to the FDA, in a clinical trial of patients with COVID-19 high risk for disease progression, a single intravenous infusion significantly reduced COVID-19 related hospitalization and death during 29 days of follow-up compared to placebo. That`s great news. Great news to the President and Chris Christie. Too bad, not everyone in America in that situation was personally buddies with Donald Trump. Trump and his buddies had special cutting edge -- cutting edge access to the most advanced treatments for the plague that was ravishing his own people, even as he denied it and urged Americans to do things that would make them sick.

And that is just one of the many astounding revelations in the new book titled Nightmare Scenario. The author`s join me next.


HAYES: Donald Trump lied about COVID and he lied to people when he told them not to worry about the virus. He lied about his own ordeal when he got sick. And those lies lead hundreds of thousands of others to their death. All this is documented in a new book titled Nightmare Scenario: Inside the Trump Administration`s Response to the Pandemic That Changed History. The book`s authors Washington Post journalist Yasmeen Abutaleb, and Damian Paletta revealed that Trump was much sicker than the lead on, that his life was probably saved by a dizzying array of emergency medicines. And when he got out of the hospital, instead of showing some humility, he stood before the White House and continued to imperil the lives of those around him.

"Facing the cameras to the balcony, he used his right hand to unhook the mask loop from his right ear and raise his left hand to pull the mask off his face. He was still probably contagious standing there for all the world to see. He made a military salute as the helicopter departed the South Lawn and then strode into the White House passing staffers on his way and failing to protect them from the virus particles emitted from his nose and mouth."

And Yasmeen Abutaleb and Damian Paletta join me now. Great reporting in this book, both of you. Congratulations on your publishing day. I want to start with the sort of frenetic calls that are Chronicle in the book, Yasmeen, to get the monoclonal antibody. The sort of links that were gone through to get the president access to this which included having to get like a special regulatory dispensation directly from the FDA if I understood it correctly.

YASMEEN ABUTALEB, AUTHOR, NIGHTMARE SCENARIO: That`s right. And as you noted earlier, the drug was not available to the general public at the time. It was still in clinical trials. The FDA had not authorized its use yet. So, what we found in our reporting was that White House aide had called the then FDA Commissioner Steve Hahn directly and asked him if he could get the drug under what`s called a compassionate use authorization, which basically is what you do when usually when someone is in dire straits, and there`s not a lot of risk at kind of throwing everything at the wall at them.

And the FDA has to make a decision within 24 hours about whether to approve the use. They don`t need the patient`s name, but they do need all of their medical information to make sure it`s safe, to make sure it`s not going to exacerbate some other underlying condition they might have or not go well with another medication they`re on. And the White House was really pressing Steve Hahn to move faster on this. They wanted him to effectively cut corners and authorize this in a matter of hours.

And when Steve Hahn found out it was for the president, he was shocked that they were not taking their time to make sure that they were doing this safely.

hayes: There`s -- a lot of stuff in the book about the illness itself is a kind of microcosm of the broader way the president treated this, right? Like, this denial, it`s way worse than it looks on the outside, but they`re trying to put on a happy face. You say that -- you write that at least two of those are briefed on Trump`s medical condition that that weekend, that he was gravely ill and feared he wouldn`t make it out of Walter Reed.

People close to Trump, Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said he was consumed with fear that Trump might die. You know, it felt, Damian, at the time like we weren`t getting the full story in real time, but it is striking to read just how freaked out everyone in the White House in the inner circle was during this period.

DAMIAN PALLETA, AUTHOR, NIGHTMARE SCENARIO: That`s right. And I think you hit on this earlier. I mean, the tragic twist was that he was so jacked up on steroids that he insisted that Sean Conley, his physician, you know, let him out of the hospital just a few days after he was brought in. The CDC Director Bob Redfield begged kindly they keep the president in the hospital. He thought that the President was going to, you know, backfire and deteriorate.

But Trump insisted on leaving. He was -- you know, he felt better, obviously, because he was on all these steroids. And then when he walked out and said, you know, this virus has nothing to fear, we need to move on, that sent a message to tens of millions of Americans that the President can whip this virus and so can they. And then, you know, this is early October. That began this period of just devastation. The third wave of the virus just washed across the country.

Yes, the president survived. He got a miracle cure. You know, he had the best treatment in the world. He was really lucky. But the consequences of his behavior after that moment, I think we`re really, really going to be a tragic kind of chapter in American history, because so many people thought if the President can get better, I can get better too, I have nothing to fear. And you know, there was just catastrophe after that.

HAYES: Yes, and Yasmeen, the both of you write in the book about this hope by medical advisors that this -- you know, that he would be scared straight, essentially, by this experience after not taking it seriously, after gallivanting around the country, after having big indoor events, violating public health protocols, right? And in seeming improbably to never get the virus, finally getting it, Trump emerged from the experience triumphant and evermore defiant. He urged people not to be afraid of the virus or let it dominate their lives, disregarding he had access to health care and treatments unavailable to other Americans. It was, several advisors said, the last chance to turn the response around. And once the opportunity passed, it was the point of no return. In some ways, it was the definitive stamping of what the response had been.

ABUTALEB: Damian and I were really struck by this when we learned just how much hope the health advisors had at the time. In particular, we know CDC Director Robert Redfield, that this was going to be a turning point. The President had gotten sick, the First Lady had gotten sick, their son Barron had gotten sick that weekend. There was a massive White House outbreak, and Redfield and some of the other doctors thought, if this isn`t the turning point, then what is going to be? If the President got sick, he was -- didn`t seem like he was going to make it out of Walter Reed for a little while. When his aides finally convinced him to go to the hospital, they said, you can walk out on your own now. If you wait much longer, you might not be able to, and then you won`t be able to hide your condition.

So, they thought given that he was so gravely ill for that period of time, that he surely would take the virus seriously, and make sure to reiterate that message to other Americans. And they were actually preparing to be able to freely speak their minds and to take the lead. And then of course, when he ripped the mask off at the top of the balcony, Redfield knew that that moment had passed and it wasn`t going to come back.

HAYES: Quickly, Damian, monoclonal antibodies never actually were deployed at scale despite what the President said would happen, right?

PALLETA: That`s correct. Yes, they`re incredibly expensive. And you know, quite frankly, the president kind of lost interest in it after that event because he was just a month away from the election and he put all his focus on the election and then obviously, fighting the results of the election. So no, he never committed to it and they never got it at scale.

HAYES: Yasmeen Abutaleb and Damian Paletta, the new book is called Nightmare Scenario. It`s full of fantastic reporting. It`s out now. Thank you both for making time tonight.

PALLETA: My pleasure.

That is ALL IN on this Tuesday night. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.